Skip to main content

tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  December 1, 2013 2:30am-3:01am EST

2:30 am
live from new york city. i'll see you again at 4am eerp. -- eastern. story." >> there is little known american industry boiling with growth, creating jobs and frothing with potential. we're talking about american craft beer. not in more than a hundred years has there been as many production breweries as there are today. as consumers search for new flavors, coor's and budweiser, the handmade beers brewed across the country are generating billions of dollars in retail sales. now comes word that a kansas
2:31 am
city icon boulevard brewing has been sold to a huge belgium brewer, and some are wondering if craft beer will get too big to remain distinctively american. >> this is a great time for craft beer. a great time to be in the scene, and it's a lot of money. >> americans have a nearly insatiable historic love of beer. 200 million barrels are brewed in the u.s. annually. but not all beer is the same. craft beer is not your father's suddens. craft does not belong in your red to go cup. you don't chuck, you sip, you savor it. >> i love craft beer because it is very delicious, and it is constantly evolving, and it has many different behavior flavors, and i
2:32 am
feel that i'm i'm constantly learning new things about it. >> reporter: defined craft is artisan. brewers focus on new interpretations of old styles and create new ones. handcrafted it's distinctly american. craft beer drinkers consume six percent of the total beer market but that equals $10 billion in retail sales last year. sales of the big beers, the ones even non-drinkers know, coor's, budweiser, grew by 1% last year but craft beer is booming. this niche market saw a 15% increase in volume, and this was the sixth straight year of double-digit growth even in the midst of high employment and sagging salaries.
2:33 am
craft beer would appear recession proof. >> i like craft beer instead of something like a budweiser, miller's coor's because you can pursue different flavors and learn about different styles. there is not just one type of beer that maybe gives you a bu buzz. >> reporter: large manufacturers are feeling the heat. belgium's brewer is tapping in to the american craft market. the flemish brew has been brewing beer, they recently purchased boulevard brewing. founded john mcdonald said it was the belgium beer he sipped in paris 30 years ago that moved him to open his own brewery in kansas city, missouri, in 1989. boulevard is known for novel and american-interpretations of belgium beer styles.
2:34 am
the two company heads called the merger a fit. but many say it will dill lieutenant the brand. this is not the first time that a big beer swallowed up a craft company. miller coor's owns the craft pierre, and so what is making craft beer flow? we went to churchke in washington, d.c. and met with a beer so sommelier. >> i feel that craft beer is always secondary to flavor impact. non-craft beer is first determined by more business acumen. >> he sees a world of difference between craft beer and big
2:35 am
brewers lik anheuser-busch and coor's. >> it's flavor. you know, on a visceral level, craft beer is something that you can't stay away from because it is so engrossing when you come to its textures, it's tastes and aromas. >> one of a growing number of restaurant and bars catering to craft beer lovers or simply different. >> it is a fun bar with a very large collection of beers that we don't ever find elsewhere , and we don't know what we're looking at half the time but it is fun to try new things. >> craft enthusiasts are knowledgeable consumers. they use network to get u up-to-date information about the brewer 's ale. >> particularly the last five to ten years, information share
2:36 am
something has blown up. the internet provides ways to research and share knowledge. nowadays people are educated on this so people know you don't have to give in and grab what's kind of ubiquitous, but it's worth seeking out intoxicating beverages that provide nuance flavors. they have history, they have stories and it's a visceral pursuit. >> 13 craft beers were brewed, more now than the previous peak in the 1880s. >> it's freshest beer in the city. >> washington, d.c. is experiencing a beer renaissance of its own. we visited one of the city's micro breweries opened in 2009 dc 31 bro brou .
2:37 am
they got in the craft business as it was taking off and didn't look back. >> this has been great for us. business is booming. it's not just a story unique to us in d.c. the craft brew culture and industry has taken off and come into its own. we've been lucky enough to be part of that locally here in washington, d.c. >> reporter: d.c. brow owners like many brewers across the nation see craft brew industry more than just a cool job but an important local contributor. >> i think there was a demand for it. culturally the city had changed from that place of transient and there was a lack of identity to people putting down roots, stilling down here and people craving something to represent d.c. not just in beer form or product form but in the cultural form. we were able to step in that role a little bit and help people make that identity.
2:38 am
>> reporter: many craft beer enthusiasts say their beer is the local appeal. >> in d.c. we have a number of small breweries. and you know, go to those breweries, meet the people, and you get the sense that it is a really small community oriented business. i do like to support that. >> and more than a savory thirst quencher, it's a bryce spot in the economy. the industry supports over 100,00100,000 jobs . craft beer growth projections are nearly $6 billion in the next five years. so as you sit back and enjoy your friends, family, and the festivities of the holiday season, have a sip of something that's already becoming as american as apple pie. >> when we come back we'll dive
2:39 am
into the ferment, so to speak, and talk about craft beer with three pioneers in the industry. stay with us. this is inside story.
2:40 am
determining using some sort of subjective interpretation of their policy as to whether or not your particular report was actually abusive, because if it doesn't contain language that specifically threatens you directly or is targeted towards you specifically, they may not consider it abuse. they may consider it offensive. and in that case they just recommend that you block that person. >> i don't want to minimise this, because i mean, there's some really horrible things that are on line, and it's not - it's not just twitter, what has happened through social media
2:41 am
and the anonymity of the net is that you see websites, hate-filled websites targetting all sorts of groups, popping up. there has been a huge number of those that exist as well. >> every sunday night, al jazeera america presents... gripping films from the world's top documentary directors. >> this is just the beginning of something much bigger. >> next sunday: do the math. >> these companies are a rogue force. >> one environmentalist says fossil fuels equal disaster. will his movement add up to change? >> we will fight it together. >> al jazeera america presents: do the math. >> welcome back to inside story. i'm ray suarez. joining us now to talk about the american craft beer industry
2:42 am
from spokane, washington, could you founder of no lie brew house. and port city brewing company, and stone brewing company. well, you guys and your market segment, greg cook, continue to grow at a time when the rest of the industry, if you'll excuse the pun, is flat. what's the problem? i keep hearing this almost under current of a narrative of loss. every time one of your compatriots sells out to a mega brewing giant, it's an ah shucks moment instead of a chest pumping,ify, high fiving moment. >> we're a passion-driven industry. the idea that we shouldn't expect more and we just want less, we're changing that notion to we deserve more and we deserve better.
2:43 am
as compatriots fighting on the front line for great beer in this country when one of us decides to go to the other side of the line it is a disappointing loss sometimes. >> let's talk about that other side of the line, bill butcher, from what you've seen so far, and there have been several acquisitions of smaller brewers by larger ones, have they tempered the recipes? have they tampered with the creative spirit that made th it worth acquiring. >> i don't know what they've done with the recipes. our brewery is less than three years old. we're trying to make the best beer possible an get it out to our customers as fresh as possible so people can enjoy better quality beer. >> is that the difference between a port city and a giant beer? >> our beer is very flavorful, and
2:44 am
its it's unpasteurized. and we get it to our customers as fresh as possible. we turn the inventory of our brewery completely every three weeks. >> john bryant, he's talking about beer like it's a living product. like a loaf of bread. are you changing people's ideas about what beer is by making it differently and talking to your customers differently about it? >> much of the business of beer crafting in the united states has been outsourced throughout the world. if you look at the major brewers in the united states they're owned by international companies. to greg and bill's point we're not only fighting to keep a culture of beer in the united states but a craft beer culture. with craft beer culture being hyper local in our communities and states, that's u.s. jobs. that's a great tax base. where there is great beer food will follow. where there is beer and food,
2:45 am
music will tomorrow, that demonstrates how we create culture in the united states that is health y vibrant, and its rooted right here. that helps our own local economy. being based in spokane, washington, we're trying to be a driven as much as greg is in san diego and bill in washington, d.c. in spokane we're trying to create a craft brewing university in turn they go to the grocery and vote every time when they purchase. what we're seeing in each neighborhood around the united states is people buying local. it could be u.s. it could be your neighborhood, your state or your region. people are proud of the beers made in the united states. stone brewing, port city and that's something worth fighting for, especially this time of era where much is being outsourced. 100 years ago basically all the beer in the united states was made here. today the largest brewer in the
2:46 am
united states might make 2 million barrels. those large conglomerate companies are based overseas. >> i was out to dinner with my young adult son, and he was asking connoisseur-like questions of the waiter about their drink offerings. when the waiter went with a away, i quizzed him about that. he said oh dad, when you drink better you drink less. which was a great thing for a young adult to say. but do you use and relate the product differently if you have that kind of relationship with it? >> well, absolutely. it's the difference between fast food and the fine dining restaurant, or actual artisan cheese and pre-wrapped processed cheese slices. we're getting away from the idea of industrialized notion facsimile of beer to real beer. actual real beer is worth discussing, it's worth talking about. every once in a while i'll hear
2:47 am
people mention that it's a fansfication, and i think that's losing a little bit of the conversation. when we're moving from a laundry list of ingredients , industrial ingredients, additive and preservpreservatives, to just a, barley, hops and craft beer, that's a return to normalcy. >> it sounds like what you and your comrades are saying, how you measure success, how you define success is different. >> it's all about quality over quantity. i come to the craft beer industry from the wine business. i was in the wine business for 18 years. when i was coming up it was a time when americans were discovering better quality wine. they stopped ordering a glass of generic wine, and i 15 to 20 years ago people discovered coffee.
2:48 am
it's better quality, freshly roasted, possibly locally roasted. people are willing to pay more for something that tastes better. >> more with our guests after this break. stay with us.
2:49 am
>> and now, a techknow minute...
2:50 am
2:51 am
2:52 am
2:53 am
2:54 am
2:55 am
2:56 am
2:57 am
2:58 am
2:59 am
check check
3:00 am
>> police fire tear gas at protesters, laying siege to the heart of government in thailand. [ ♪ music ] >> hello. you are watching al jazeera live from doha. also on this program. a nationwide strike is planned in ukraine, a day after riot police raided an anti-government rally. >> anger over an israeli plan to e-victoria their own citizens from their